I bit off more than I can chew.

Oh, I have said that so many times, and I’m not talking about food. I’m talking about commitments, over-commitments.

I’m a “yes” man, I guess you could say. I say “yes” at times when the correct answer is “no.” A former pastor apparently saw this in me and told me one day that there are times when “no is an acceptable answer.”

I’m here today talking about over-commitments because I made another one a few days ago. Nobody asked me to do anything. I did this all by myself. I don’t have anyone to blame except myself.

Actually, I could blame some others – those Rockwall Running Club people who have been an important part of my life the last seven or eight years. I was overcome with memories of my running life with these people recently and I couldn’t help it. I over-committed.

Here’s the deal.

For about five years, if it was a Tuesday or Thursday, I would start my day with a 5 a.m. run with my Rockwall Running Club friends. Yes, that’s 5 in the morning. In the early days, there would be as few as three runners. Later, there were 40 or 50 – or maybe even more. We would gather at Ridge Pointe Athletic Club and head out in groups – based on running pace – and run the streets of Rockwall.

I retired from the 5 a.m. Rockwall runs after I had some health issues in 2015. I retired based on wife Becky’s recommendation. This is a time that “yes” was the correct answer. I agreed with Becky’s recommendation and I ended my early morning runs with my friends

I’ve kept running, but my running life has been sporadic. I’m not as dedicated as before because of what I call the accountability factor. I would show up 5 a.m. to run because I knew there would be friends there who expected me to be there, and vice versa. We were, I guess you could say, accountable to each other.

I went through a weak period a week ago. I started thinking about my running friends and the good times we had running in the early morning hours, and running races together. So, I decided to over-commit. I decided to write a running memory each day for 30 days on the Rockwall Running Club Facebook page.

It sounded like a good idea at the time, and, honestly, I’m glad I’m doing it. Today, I’m at Day 6 of 30.

But here’s the deal. I’ve got memories to cherish, and I want to share with the whole wide world – not just the Rockwall Running Club world – the special running moments that I’ve had with these special people.

But I don’t want to get bogged down in the past. I think sometimes we do that. What about the future? I’m only 69 years old. I’m not done yet. I’ve got lots of running miles left in me. I want to be like my running hero Melvin Joslin. He ran into his 80s.

I’m going to complete my over-commitment project, my daily memory stories. Cherish the past. Yes. But at the same time, I want to build new memories, with new people, maybe on new running routes.

I’m not sure yet what that looks like, but I certainly want to keep those memories to inspire me as I pursue something in the future. And I feel that happening as I write this.

I’ve got to pay attention to the caution signs as I move forward. I don’t want to take any detours along the way. I’ve got to be concerned about my over-commitments.

 So, what I’m going to do is really pay attention to someone who has encouraged me every step of the way during my 35-plus years as a runner, the person who has told me on many occasions, “Run, Jim, run.”

Of course, I’m referring to wife Becky.

Oh, how blessed I am to have a wife who has been so supportive of me and my passion to run.

Because she’s been such a valuable part of my running past, I expect us to be side by side as I move forward with my running future. What a team!

I know my limitations as a runner, and, of course, all serious runners push those limits to the max and more.

But what about commitments?

Her responsibility, I believe, will be focused on keeping me on course, keeping me committed and not over-committed as I move forward.

As a runner, you don’t want to see “DNF” next to your name. That stands for “did not finish.”

The same with commitments – no matter what they are. Right now, I may not know my limits, but as I move forward I may ask myself? Commit or over-commit.

I believe a “no” is a lot better than a “DNF.”


Jim Hardin may be reached at jhardin@heraldbanne.com.

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